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I'm using Debian testing, and I have been switched to GNOME 3 by the Debian update yesterday. I'm not very comfortable with the UI. I wanted to customize everything like I had it with GNOME 2, but I simply couldn't find any way to change preferences like I'm used to. I've digged some, but all answers I could find did not help me achieve my goals. So please, if anyone knows the solution to this I'd be thankful:

  1. I want several launchers that launch terminals, with different arguments and different coloring/title. I have searched everything and there seems to be no menu, no right-click, nothing which is standard in any UI I know. How can I create several launchers in this bar on the left side that launch the same application, just with different parameters? With GNOME 2 this was a piece of cake.

  2. I want to switch between different terminals using ALT-TAB. Right now, I'm always just getting to the same, already-opened terminal. When I open two terminals by simply creating the second one by issuing xterm &, I still get one Terminal entry with ALT-TAB, and I have to navigate with cursor keys or mouse wheel to select one of the two xterminals. Instead, I want to open a new terminal when I click the quick launch terminal icon from the bar on the left side of the screen and navigate through them like on KDE/GNOME 2/Windows/any reasonable UI. Can this be done?

  3. Is there a trick to make bluetooth devices work like on GNOME 2? Right now, my Bluetooth keyboard won't pair anymore, which, as you can imagine, makes me pretty angry.

    And, everything anything fails:

  4. How can I switch back to GNOME 2 again? Honestly, who did design this? What were they smoking? I feel like I'm not allowed to do anything except start one of any application that has an icon and just with the default parameters. That can't be true, right? I feel massively restrained by this stuff.

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This is frustrating -- I think I'll install KDE now. – hochl Nov 22 '11 at 22:24

You can enable desktop icons in general, although it is a headache. To do it I had to download a program called "A tool to customize advanced GNOME 3 options", or "gnome-tweak-tool" if you're searching for it in your favorite package manager.

  • In Advanced Settings > Desktop, turning on "Have file manager handle the desktop" gives you a real desktop to right-click on. The rest of the options allow you to add the My Computer, etc icons.
  • In Advanced Settings > Shell > Arrangement of buttons on the task bar, you can add the minimize and maximize buttons again.
  • To add an icon to your newly acquired desktop, you must (or almost always must) do the following:

    1. press Alt+F2 for the Run dialog box
    2. enter

      gnome-desktop-item-edit /home/YOURUSERNAME/Desktop --create-new

  • I created an icon to add icons (because that alone was tedious). Use the process above to initialize icon creation, then add it as the command.

Ta-daa, an almost functional desktop.

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